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latest news

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

24/03/2017: Unite against terror, racism and war

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

22/03/2017: Class struggle can build real left force

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

21/03/2017: Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

18/03/2017: SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

  Scotland

Brazil
National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

17/03/2017: For a one-day general strike as the next step

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

17/03/2017: Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

16/03/2017: Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

  Netherlands

Yemen
Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies

16/03/2017: International campaign needed to force companies to pay

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

14/03/2017: Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

14/03/2017: Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

13/03/2017: Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

12/03/2017: Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

10/03/2017: Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

09/03/2017: International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

  Women

 Spain
Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike

08/03/2017: ‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

08/03/2017: Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

  Pakistan

 International Women’s Day 2017
A century on from the Russian Revolution

06/03/2017: Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

  Women

Britain
Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

06/03/2017: Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

04/03/2017: Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

03/03/2017: Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

  Hong Kong

US
Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress

02/03/2017: Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017: What is behind Trump's attack?

  Sweden

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

  Russian Revolution

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

Netherlands
Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections

18/02/2017: Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

  Netherlands

Britain
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

  Aceh

Spain
Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

  Spain

Netherlands

Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

www.socialistworld.net, 16/03/2017
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam

The most important feature of the national elections in the Netherlands is the colossal defeat for the outgoing austerity coalition government of the Liberal Party (VVD) and the Labour Party (PvdA). The Labour Party lost 29 seats and the VVD lost 8, an enormous total of 37 seats (more than half of the number of seats that are required to form a government (75)).The result is a clear indictment of the austerity policies of the past period. The VVD and the media will present the 33 seats as a ‘victory’. But the VVD lost seats and its coalition partner, the Labour Party, is reduced to a rump party of 9 seats. Neoliberalism has suffered a serious election defeat.

Another important feature is that although it came second, the extreme right wing Freedom Party (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, got stuck on 20 seats. Even with the strong winds of the asylum seekers crisis of 2016, Brexit and Trump’s victory in its sails, the PVV failed in its aim to become the largest party. It has more seats than in 2012, when it had supported the outgoing government, but in comparison with its high point in the polls (37 seats predicted in January 2016) the results were disappointing for Wilders.

Wilders poured out endless hateful racist tweets and remarks during the election campaign, including his shameful call for “less Moroccans” in the Netherlands. His campaign consisted of tweets and flying visits to a couple of cities. He did not try to organise a mass rally. More often than not there was more security people and press that PVV supporters around Wilders during his visits. His bluff was called in a debate with Liberal Party (VVD) leader, Rutte, when Wilders admitted that his demands for the policing of the ‘use’ of the Koran would never materialise.

The promised right wing spring has turned out to be a balloon with hot air. Apart from Wilders, a few small right wing parties got marginal results. But the lack of a big breakthrough by Wilders does not mean that the danger of the extreme right is over. Other parties adopted some of his clothing. An ‘ordinary’ right wing party, Rutte’s Liberal (VVD) party, and an extreme right party, Wilders’ PVV, are now the two largest parties in the Netherlands. So the right wing threat remains.

The fact that Wilders, partly because of his lacklustre campaign, got stuck at 20 seats means very little for the upcoming elections in France and Germany. There is no reason for the EU to congratulate itself with the Dutch elections results.

Green Left gains

There are parties - Green Left, the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party (D66) - that profited from the mass exit of voters from the Labour Party and the VVD. The Green Left (GL), now a liberal party with a green edge, has profited most, partly through the popularity of its new young leader. The GL’s vote jumped from 2% to 8.9% (its previous highpoint was 7.3% in 1998). In the past, the Green Lefts helped the last coalition government to win majority votes in parliament, for instance, regarding a Dutch military mission to Afghanistan. In this election, the Green Lefts put forward policies for improving the environment, closure of coal-fired power stations, ending tax breaks for corporations, ending ‘flexibility’ in firing procedures and calling for more money for higher education – demands that are popular among young people.

Green Left (GL) is based on the higher-educated people of West Holland - young professionals and intellectuals.  Although the former Communist Party was one of its co-founders, the GL does not put forward clear pro-working class policies let alone talk about socialism. Workers are not enthusiastic about GL. One of the reasons for this is the fact that GL has been part of the political establishment for years. The many Dutch workers who have experienced the downside of globalisation and neoliberalism are concerned with the notion of ‘progress’ under capitalism that GL espouses. Many workers fear that after being presented with the bill for bailing out the financial/banking sector, they will now face another bill for the ‘greening’ of the economy if the GL is part of a new coalition government or influences its policies.

The Christian Democrats are a shadow of their former self - the powerful government party of the past. Its party leader plays the role of the upright conservative. But his proposals for the obligatory singing of the national anthem in schools, the taking away of the Queen’s passport (she is Argentinian by origin) and his statements about a “thousand years of gender equality” traditions in the Netherlands, have not left a deep impression. He also lacks a connection with the Catholic south.

The D66 is the most pro-EU party and they want to cut health care even more than the Liberals. The fact that the Green Lefts, the Christian Democrats and D66 won more votes can only by attributed to the collapse of the Labour Party and the losses of the Liberals.

The Dutch Socialist Party (SP) went down slightly, to just over 9%, and lost one seat. It failed to make any headway, despite years of austerity government. Instead of opting for the role as a fighting socialist opposition, the leadership presented the party as a ‘normal’ opposition. The voters failed to see the difference between the SP and the many other opposition parties. As a ‘normal’ opposition party, the SP failed to make significant breakthroughs in previous elections, in 2010 and 2012. The potential of the party was clear in 2006, when it won over 16% of the vote and 25 seats, and in polls (in August 2012, the SP was predicted to win 37 seats). This potential still exists but to realise it the party needs to change course. A socialist programme is the only way to get the SP out of its present stagnation, otherwise it will enter a phase of crisis.

In the coming period, a new government will have to be formed. That will take place under the leadership of the VVD (Liberal party), in spite of its loss of support. Although the election result is a big rejection of austerity, but the VVD is still in the lead.

Problems of forming a new coalition government

The Liberal Party will try to continue austerity in government with new parties but it will be difficult to form a new coalition. More parties will be needed to form a coalition, this time. What direction will such a coalition take? Combine austerity with conservative Christian values? How can they avoid disappointing their voters? Will the coalition parties escape the fate of the Labour Party? All possible coalitions have the disadvantage of involving complicated compromises and a lack of direction. New elections are not excluded. But the VVD will be concerned it could lead to a comeback for Wilders, creating a new crisis.

The pressing problems facing the working class in the Netherlands - low wages, the lack of job security, poor working conditions and work pressures, high rents, high costs of health care, expensive and limited public transport, environmental problems, the high costs of education etc. - will not ease with the election outcome.

Role of unions

A study of European trade unions indicate that wages are growing less than before 2008 in 21 of the 28 EU countries. In a group of seven countries, among which Britain, Cyprus and Greece, wages are considerably lower. The Netherlands is in the middle group of countries, where workers have not made any progress.

The trade unions in the Netherlands have been weakened, as this report also indicates. Sweden has the largest number of union members, but even there organised workers are in a minority (36%). The Netherlands are far below the average European level of union organisation. Against whatever government there may be, the rebuilding of the trade union movement is of the utmost importance for workers in order to be able to fight back. A militant approach of wage demands, shorter working hours, job security and better working conditions is the best way to rebuild the unions.

Workers in the Netherlands lack political representation. In spite of its stated intentions, the Socialist Party leadership failed in this respect. It is too eager to enter into coalition at local government level and makes little effort to mobilise against cuts. Either the SP continues on this disastrous path or it opts for a real future. A broad democratic workers’ party is needed, which combines defence of workers’ interests (higher wages, job security, stable pensions, retirement at 65, free health care etc.) with the struggle for a socialist society.

The continuation of poverty, rising health care costs, the threat of unemployment and loss of income, meagre social security, discrimination and racism, the degradation of the environment; a new government of pro-capitalist parties is not going to end these pressing problems. None of the 77 parties that wanted to participate in the election, and none of the 28 that did so, is going to change the system. Dutch workers and youth will have to do that, organised in unions at work and in a broad political socialist alternative, locally and in government, linking up with worldwide protests against austerity, Trump and capitalism, in general.

 



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NEWS

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

Britain/Ireland: Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty
23/02/2017, Neil Cafferky, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

Ireland: A web of intrigue sparks government crisis
22/02/2017, By Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November